Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for the ‘Rental Exhibits’ Category

We Don’t Care. We Really Don’t Care!

October 28th, 2017 COMMENTS

ClassicRentals

Thank you for a CRAZY FALL SEASON. We’ve had strong sales, including a record number of AMAZING custom projects. You kept us busy and inspired in Q3, which the Classic Exhibits Family appreciates.

The rental division, Classic Rental Solutions (CRS), saw the largest surge. And that’s not surprising. Exhibit rentals are growing at Classic and throughout the industry. More and more exhibitors are attracted to the smaller upfront investment and the luxury of changing their design from show to show or year to year. The exhibitor’s desire to “mix things up” challenges many builder’s design flexibility and capacity. Not every company has the capability (or willingness) to stretch their rental program.

But We Do. And Here’s Why.

#1. Classic Exhibits and CRS support over 200 distributors. Not every distributor taps into our rental division, but the vast majority send us multiple projects every year. That volume means we have an unmatched inventory when your client needs five LED lightboxes, a double-deck display, a 40 x 40 island, or 37 monitor stands for an event. There are few requests we can’t handle.

#2. We are the manufacturer. We’re not ordering modular frames, cut aluminum extrusion, or custom wood counters. We’re building them. If the rental division needs a custom counter or curved Gravitee One-Step frames, it’s done in days, not weeks. It also means we control the quality. We have no hesitation about throwing away damaged aluminum, chipped laminate, or rebuilding or replacing crates. What we ship has to be perfect because we’re answerable not only to you but also to your client. Happy customers mean more rental orders. And that makes us happy.

#3. We are the designer (in most cases). That gives us enormous flexibility to create customized rental designs. We can choose to build a custom component for a specific design. So many rental designs on the show floor are cut-and-paste, carbon copies of modular panel templates. Be honest. How often have you seen the same rectangular tower with four arches and stock counters? Rentals are growing but some of the designs on the show floor are getting pretty stale.

RentalImages

#4. We are Classic Exhibits. Over the years, we’ve built our reputation on design, quality, flexibility, and nimble engineering. And especially predictability. When you open a rental crate there should be no surprises. It will include detailed instructions, immaculate packaging, and graphics that fit, since the display was staged and photos taken in our facility.

#5. Lightboxes, Charging Stations, Monitor Stands, Tablet Solutions, LED Accent Lighting, etc. Trade show industry trends change FAST. Those trends should apply equally to rentals as they do to purchases. Sadly, that’s not true for all suppliers. At Classic Exhibits, we have no reason not to cross-pollinate purchase trends with rentals. We benefit. You benefit. Your client benefits.

So…. you may be wondering about the title of this blog post — “We Don’t Care. We Really Don’t Care.” On occasion, a distributor will apologize for a rental order. Their client considered both a rental or a purchase but eventually decided to rent. Yes, the initial order is is smaller but that’s fine. Rental orders, over time, tend to be larger than purchases. And frankly, the margins are better. There’s no need to apologize. We don’t care whether you purchase or rent from Classic Exhibits. We only care that you do one or the other.

Thanks again for a remarkable fall. Be sure to visit the Rental Display Gallery. We’ve added over 120 designs in the past two months, all with rental and purchase prices.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

**********************************************

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Kevin Carty — Video Update October 2017

October 16th, 2017 1 COMMENT

Kevin Carty’s Vlog.

In this video, Kevin shares his thoughts about fall business, Shared Knowledge University, Classic Rental Systems, and EDPA Access (in late November). It’s been an exciting fall season at Classic Exhibits with increased orders and a HUGE bump in custom builds.

A sincere thanks to the Classic Distributor Network for trusting us with your orders. It’s very much appreciated. See the video below for your complete update.

To view recent projects, go to Past Five Days in Exhibit Design Search.

**********************************************

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

NEW Rental/Purchase Price Feature in Exhibit Design Search

August 30th, 2017 COMMENTS

We Heard You. Loud and Clear!

Nearly every day we get the following request, “My client can purchase the VK-1233 for $9208. What would the rental price be?” We’re happy to answer that question…  but wouldn’t it be nice if those prices were in Exhibit Design Search? Yes.

That’s a HUGE project! And we’re up to the challenge, but it will take a little time. Effective on all Exhibit Design Search websites, you can now find 72 kits with both rental and purchase prices. You can see them in Visionary Designs, Islands, SEGUE, eSmart, and the Rental Galleries. Click HERE to see an example.

Another 50 kits will be updated in September. Then we’ll continue adding more each month. Let us know if you have any questions. We are excited about this new EDS update and hope it makes your life a little easier (and more profitable).

EDSNewRentalPricing

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

**********************************************

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Who is Classic’s Biggest Competitor?

June 15th, 2017 4 COMMENTS

Who is Classic's Biggest Competitor?

Recently, I’ve been on the road, visiting Classic Distributors in the Midwest and South. We chat about industry trends, new products, and challenges in their market. Occasionally, they will ask me about competitors. That’s a topic that always makes me uncomfortable.

Now, why should talking about competitors be uncomfortable? Handled professionally, it can be instructive for both of us, and I am just as guilty of asking a distributor, “What are you hearing in the industry?”

Nevertheless, “Who is Your Biggest Competitor?” always makes me squirm. You would expect me to list a handful of systems manufacturers or internet resellers, but while they are competitors, they are not our biggest competitor. So, who is?

Our Biggest Competitor

You. You are our biggest competitor. Now don’t take that the wrong way. You are also our customers, colleagues, and friends. We like you. We respect you. Our business depends on you. We are honored to have you as part of the Classic Exhibits Family. And, yet, you are also our biggest competitor — day in and day out. That shouldn’t surprise you. If it does, it shouldn’t.

Every single day you listen to clients about their projects. Then you make a decision about who designs, manages, and builds that project. You? Another builder? Classic Exhibits? Let’s explore some examples together.

CustomBlogpostHeader

Custom Exhibits

Do you design and build it, assuming you have in-house custom capability? What’s the budget? What are the client’s expectations? Will it interfere with other projects or customers currently in the pipeline?

  • Will it keep my shop busy and/or happy?
  • Is the client’s budget realistic for our shop rate?
  • Can I make margin?
  • Is it within our skill-set or would it make more sense for someone else to build it?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Assuming you don’t have in-house capability, do you find a contract builder?

  • Do I have the in-house talent to project manage it?
  • Should I find someone local?
  • Do I trust that shop and do they have experience?
  • What if the client expects me to store the exhibit and prep it for each show?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Hybrid Exhibits

Aluminum extrusion systems seem, at first glance, an easier decision. What’s so challenging about designing and building a display from modular aluminum components. After all, it only requires:

  • Designing a hybrid solution using standard and customized engineered aluminum components
  • Ordering those components from an aluminum supplier at the correct size(s), angles, and finishes
  • Supplementing them with accessories from other manufacturers such as counters, lighting, graphics, and casing
  • Creating detailed setup instructions and numbered components
  • Creating re-usable packaging that protects the components
  • Completing all above within a 10-15 day time frame
  • Ensuring margins are acceptable, including time and materials and lost opportunities

chargingblogheader

Specialized Displays

Specialized displays include lightboxes, charging stations, retail fixtures, corporate environments, or anything outside your normal trade show or event world.

  • What is the client’s expectation of quality?
  • Is the budget realistic?
  • Is the time frame realistic?
  • Should you design, project management, and build it?
  • Do you have the capability to handle the project?
  • If not, what company has the inventory, technology, and capability to produce it?
  • Should it be handled locally or online?
  • Can you make margin, complete the order on time, and continue to pursue other opportunities?

blogheaderRentals

Rental Displays

The growth of rentals, especially customized rentals, has created a dilemma for many Classic Distributors. Building a rental inventory takes financial capital, warehouse space, and a steady order turn to be successful. And yet, rentals can be very profitable assuming there’s sufficient turn on your inventory and minimal damage.

  • Do you pull from your inventory, add to your inventory, send it to Classic, or send it somewhere else?
  • Do you have the physical space to warehouse a rental inventory?
  • How deep should that inventory be?
  • Are your designs limited by your in-house inventory?
  • What if the client requires multiple quantities of counters, monitor stands, or kiosks?
  • Do you have the time/talent to create detailed setup instructions for each project?
  • Does geography or the show location determine whether to use your rental inventory or rely on a supplier like Classic?
  • Are you accounting for the labor to design, build, pack, receive, and clean the rental? What about damage?

You get my point. If there was a way to measure lost opportunities for Classic, I suspect that we lose more business when you choose to build or rent something in-house than when the order is sent to another manufacturer. At Classic Exhibits, our job is to excel in design, customer service, production, packaging, instructions, and even marketing so you choose the easiest and most profitable path for your company. We have to win your approval, day after day. And that’s our goal since we don’t sell direct.

So, to you our competitor and our customer, while we don’t win them all, we win far more than we lose when we have the opportunity. All we ask is that we get the opportunity.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite
https://www.facebook.com/Classic-Exhibits-Inc-113601405319757


 

Is It Too Early for 2017 Predictions?

November 25th, 2016 COMMENTS

2017blog

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve. Then 2017. Yes, it might be a little early for predictions, but we just completed our 2017 budget so the future has been on our minds for several months.

Here’s what our Magic 8 Ball tells us. Industry predictions from Kevin and Mel.

Elections Always Bring Doubt. This year more than most. However, there’s a difference between uncertain uncertainty and certain uncertainty. Just in the past two weeks, we’ve seen a significant increase in design requests, whether trade show, corporate environments, or events. We expect that to continue through Q1 and Q2.

We believe that 2017 will mimic 2015. More new builds with a focus on “I want what I want.” Less of “I’ll get what I need.” If that holds true, we will all benefit.

Generalist vs. Specialist. In our collective little world, you better be an anal-retentive, opportunistic generalist. We can no longer pretend to just do trade shows or events or museum or retail design. We must embrace all 3D opportunities available. I’m amazed at the projects leaving our dock which will never be on a trade show floor. They’ll be at a sales meeting, in a mall, in a corporate conference room, or a bracket for a wireless product.

Change is inevitable. What you don’t know, you learn or partner with someone with “a particular set of skills.” Two years ago, we didn’t know squat about charging stations. Now, we can’t build them fast enough.

Trade Show and Event Charging StationsCharging Stations, Lightboxes, Rental Furniture. I won’t belabor this. You’ve heard us say it before. It’s basically free money on nearly every trade show order if you include charging stations, lightboxes, and rental furniture. Ignoring these hot trends will negatively impact your income.

Rental Exhibits and Accessories. It’s hard to ignore a 25% sales increase year-over-year for seven straight years. We expect rentals to continue at this pace. Just this year, Jim Shelman and his team added a significant inventory of Gravitee Modular Solutions which has proven to reduce I&D and drayage costs for clients while expanding his already impressive design portfolio.

Branded Environments. Customers want their corporate environments, show floor spaces, and events to be consistent. Meaning, branding in all spaces will only continue to grow. This includes re-purposing graphic messaging or, better yet, using parts of their exhibit in their corporate environments during off-show times.

Data Analytics on Steroids. Data analytics appears to be poised for a massive leap. This includes the ability to track movement, “hang time” in a space, and influence an event in real-time. All driven by the desire to track engagement and make adjustments on the fly to meet attendee needs during an event or a show.

Sustainable Trade Show DisplaysSustainability. It’s not a new topic, but it got shelved by many exhibitors during the recession. 2017 will see a renewed push for sustainable materials and practices in corporate exhibit and event programs.

Less is More. Exhibitors continue to rely on “system” structures like aluminum extrusions to build their properties. But less and less of it is seen via creative graphic applications or integrated custom wood fabrication, cladding, powder-coating, etc. Aluminum extrusion sales are increasing… we’re just seeing less of it visually.

Company-Managed Trade Shows. 2016 saw a big increase in companies managing their own shows. These were often branded as events but in reality were in-house mini-shows with their preferred partners and customers. It allows companies to define the attendee list and manage what attendees see (and don’t see). That’s not to say that companies are abandoning their exhibit programs at national shows. Not at all. But adding these events gives them a higher ROI for specific product launches, training sessions, or sales events.

Gravitee One-Step Modular SystemAssembly, Shipping, and Drayage. These concerns never go away, whether it’s 2008 or 2017. If you’re not designing and engineering to minimize these issues, then you are an ostrich with your head in the sand. We believe that Gravitee represents the first comprehensive solution. No tools. No loose parts. Curves. Flat panels. Wire management. Fabric and direct print graphics. And seamless connectivity to the MODUL Aluminum Extrusion System. Yes, this is a blatant plug for Gravitee, but it’s also a prediction. Gravitee will be front and forward in 2017.

Please share your thoughts and predictions in the comments. What did we miss or get wrong?

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite